DuBois, Ellen Carol. Feminism and Suffrage: The Emergency of an Independent Women's Movement in America, 1848-1969. Cornell University Press, 1999. HQ1423 .D8
---"Postwar politics provided the setting within which feminists came to recognize that the only force capable of bringing about radical change in the condition of women's lives was the organized power of women themselves." (19)
---Post-war suffragists realized independent movement was necessary. (19)
---"...its basic characteristics were set in the Reconstruction period: it was an independent reform movement, composed primarily of white, middle-class women, which defined women's emancipation and equality largely, although not exclusively, in terms of the franchise." (20)
Cott, Nancy. Bonds of Womanhood: "Women's Sphere" in New England, 1780-1835. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977. HQ1418 .C67 Also NetLibrary.
Evans, Sara. Born of Liberty: A History of Women in America. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997. Own.
---Women created voluntary associations which existed between public and private, created new public spaces. Found a way into public life and influenced the broader history of men and women. (3)
---17th century-->public/private-->strict delineation. Education, business, health, and welfare-->private/family realm. Politics and religion also private/personal, more based on kinship/family ties. (3)
---women "had access to private sources of social controls over public action." (3)
---pg 122: disagreement on the 15th amendment-->more focused on women's movement
---Women have redefined the boundaries of public/private and citizenry
Hewitt, Nancy A. Women's Activism and Social Change: Rochester, New York, 1822-1872. _____: Lexington Books, 2002. HQ 1439 .R62 H48 2001
---Identifies three groups of women in Rochester: benevolents, perfectionists, and ultras.
---"Although all were white, Protestant, and usually middle-class, they came from different regions and social strata and retained distinctive features throughout the period. Viewing these women, Hewitt challenges the orthodox view that revivalism stimulated white middle-class women to extend their sphere from charity to moral reform and eventually to suffrage. "
---(18) Historians of the 19th-century women have generally been more attentive to struggles between the sexes than to those among women themselves. They have also been more attentive to the private than the public sphere. While recognizing the achievements of a few publicly prominent women reformers and the large network of female societies that supported their efforts, historians of women, particularly those studying the decades before the Civil War, have focused the greatest attention on female experience within the domestic arena. These historians have claimed that the defining characteristic of that experience in Greater New England was the separation of men's and women's spheres. In the colonial era, shortages of women and of labor, the small scale of community life, and the frontier environment temporarily blurred the lines between public and private and male and female domains. But in the first half of the 19th century, men once again firmly grasped the reigns of public economic and political power while simultaneously cloaking women in a mantle of spiritual and moral guardianship that was rhetorically expansive but pragmatically restrictive. Viewing early 19th century women as increasingly relegated to home and church and the domains themselves as increasingly relegated to the periphery of social power and authority, women's historians have elaborated women's private lives in fine detail. The tenets of "true womanhood"--piety, purity, domesticity, and submissiveness-- which accompanied the privatization of female experience were initially interpreted as signs of woman's defeat at the hands of the Jacksonian era's "true man," who was aggressive, virile, competitive, and domineering. Gradually, however, true womanhood was recast as a source of female bonding and strength, and sorority was added to the list of mid-19th century woman's virtues. Scholars, faced with the problem of explaining the nearly simultaneous but seemingly contradictory emergence of "true womanhood" and women's public activism, then devised an intricate argument to account for the (19) transformation of pious, pure, domestic, submissive, and sororal women into social, and specifically feminist, activists by 1848.
According to the now widely accepted scenario, women's path to public prominence began at the hearth of the privatized family and the altar of religious revivalism. Within the family, women became inculcated with a sense of their moral superiority, while the churches, to which they flocked in far larger numbers than their male kin, assured them of their spiritual superiority. The forces that pushed women into domesticity also gave birth to increasingly visible social ills-- poverty, crime, delinquency, intemperance, prostitution, and vagrancy. When evangelical ministers of the 1820s and 1830s began citing irreligion and materialism, both fostered by male-dominated economic and political institutions, as the causes of such problems, they inspired women's entrance into the public realm. Inspiration was translated into action as the tenets of the Second Great Awakening spread across the country, demanding that all Christians apply their material and moral resources to public ills. Initially concerned only with ameliorating the plight of the old, the ill, the orphaned, and the destitute, urban women became the bearers of prayers for the profligate and alms for the poor. They soon discovered deeper and more extensive social problems, however, and gradually expanded their sphere of activity. Seemingly without economic or political power and therefore armed only with humanitarian motives, women moved beyond the confines of local charity to seek the universal abolition of vice, intemperance, and slavery. It was in these pursuits that women encountered debilitating barriers to their efforts based on the very femaleness that inspired their public labors. Some women were thereby led to initiate campaigns for their own social and political rights. The historical image thus emerges of a relatively homogeneous body of women-- white, middle class, Yankee, urban, and evangelical-- who left their private havens to purify the world under the banner of revivalism: they followed a lengthy, sometimes circuitous, but essentially singular path from benevolent associations through moral reform crusades to woman's rights campaigns. At (20) each step, even when demanding certain forms of equality with men, women activists confronted the masculine values of material progress with the feminine tenets of moral perfection.
This interpretation has provoked few challenges. First, it attests to the success of male-directed economic and political expansionism even while illuminating the seamy underside of the process. Second, it affirms women's collective strength in preserving both personal identity and moral values through the espousal of female virtues. THird, it bears witness to the dynamism of the urban environment as providing the necessary preconditions for progressive politics. Thus it simultaneously appeals to urbane modernization theorists and feminist scholars. Two historians, Ellen DuBois and Mary P Ryan, have questioned significant aspects of the scenario. DuBois claims that the woman's rights advocates of the pre-Civil War era were a distinct group within the plethora of women reformers because they alone challenged the rights of men to control the most powerful of all public domains, politics. Yet, while arguing that the woman's rights program was distinct, DuBois assumes that the program's advocates shared the Yankee, urban, evangelical heritage of their sister activists and that they similarly confronted men across the chasm of separate spheres. Ryan alone argues that men and women did not occupy wholly separate spheres and that they did work together, particularly for familiar and economic goals....Nevertheless, Ryan sees middle-class women as only temporary voyagers in the public pursuit of material and moral progress. She claims that "new domestic values, practices, and functions" were "incubated" in the public volunteer associations of the 1830s and 1840s, but that "the veterans of the reform era and their progeny" soon withdrew into "the conjugal family," which in the industrial age "itself became the cradle of middle-class individuals."
(21) To evaluate the dominant thesis and its challengers, I explore here three aspects of women's activism: the extensiveness, permanence, and position of women's public labors within he larger processes of social, political, and economic change; the extent to which women activists identified with or challenged men of their own social and economic circles; and the social and economic characteristics of various groups of women activists and their relations to the forms of activism pursued. These concerns can be analyzed best in a community setting: here one can capture the localized character of mid-19th century women's activism and can explore the finite links among ideological prescriptions about female behavior, the social and economic circumstances of women's daily lives, and the translation of both into public forms.
These changes reordered women's worlds in the 19th century, replacing 18th century dependencies-- embodied in extended kin groups, informal networks of community control and welfare, and the family as the locus of men's and women's labors-- with more highly structured, stratified, and segregated social formations. In Rochester, these changes nurtured a varied and vital community of women reformers. Evangelical, Quaker, and Unitarian; affluent, upwardly mobile, and marginally middle-class; married and single; pioneer and....
Ryan, Mary P. Cradle of the Middle Class: The Family in Oneida County, New York, 1780-1865. Cambridge University Press, 1983. HQ 555 .N7 R9
---"This book will focus on one manifestation of this dynamic relationship, the role played by changes in social reproduction in the markings of an American middle class." (15)
---"Cult of true womanhood":"gilded pedestal for a sexual division of labor and social roles." Men work outside home, women stay in home to take care of husband, be affectionate, and make a place for her man to relax and be comfortable. (189-190)
---Women have infinite influence over men by controlling home life. (190)
---Mid-century men and women were more separated than they had been in the past (191)
---This chapter (A Sphere is Not a Home): women worked outside the home, women's domestic labor impacted local economy, and women spent time outside domestic unit/marriage. (191)
---The bonds of domesticity: Women more likely to stay in home with family than men. Women, if they left the family home, were more likely to be servants in someone else's household. Most women went from family home to husband's home. They were more likely to reside with family after being widowed. (192)
---Women maintained close relationships with their mothers and female relatives in their household and this impacted their personalities. Reproduction of Motherhood. Fairly peaceful transition into adulthood because of emotional bonds/continuity. (194)
---"potential for marital tension that was built into the structure of gender at midcentury." (196)--close relationships with females/mother-->not necessarily close heterosexual relationships with husbands
---Women often existed in almost completely female circles (196).
---A World of Work: Housework, shared between women. Cooking became more than food preparation. Emphasis on domestic economy, nutrition and elaborate recipes. "private world of work and expertise" that only women possessed (198).
---About 20% of women mid-century "converted their domestic services... into a source of income." (Boarding) (201)
---Providing for the Public Welfare: "women's religious sphere," "The pious women of the 1860s did not, hwoever, confine their religious work within the boundaries of their own place of worship nor within family networks." (211) Women opened orphan and benevolent societies in the mid-century. (212-213) "In 1865 it seemed that women were poised to make an assault on the male sphere and were determined to take direct control of municipal social services." (213). ---"By midcentury women commanded through their charitible activities a vital post outside the home, one of crucial importance to the social order of the city. They had not, however, entered the formal public sphere nor the realm of capital. Their benevolence was still conducted under private auspices, not in an authoritive, legally sanctioned public arena." (217)
---Troubled Borders of Women's Sphere: "The gender system was full of tension, ever-changing, and even buffeted by some conscious protest movements. Both these tensions and this dynamic inhabitied women's sphere itself." (218)
---1/4 adult women of Utica were widows or spinsters, lived with relatives, had excess female labor in household which allowed for more benevolent/volunteer work (223).
---Mid-century: private and public more sharply defined. Public was expanding. Women/private. (234)
--"Specialized public agencies-- the schools, the police force, the poorhouse, the lunatic asylum-- assumed responsibility for many aspects of social reproduction. On the other hand, the private middle-class family claimed more autonomy and privacy in the socialization and acculturation of its own members." (235)
---"The family and women formed, in sum, a bloated, if not an expansive, social sphere. The veil of privacy merely and imperfectly camouflaged these extensive and essential components of the social system." (240)
---gendered isolation very important (240)--created gendered identity/group consciousness
Tyler, Pam. Silk Stockings and Ballot Boxes: Women and Politics in New Orleans, 1920-1965. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2009. Dr. Mohr has this.
Open letter to people I know
4 years ago